I’ve been keeping quiet lately, but Miles has been a little bit footsore ever since last Thursday. It’s nothing major, but he’s been in enough discomfort to keep us on the sidelines this week. I’ve been packing his front feet with Magic Cushion and wrapping him overnight, which seems to be helping. He’s been steadily getting better and I have high hopes that everything will be back to normal by this weekend. In the meantime, I’ve been reunited with my favorite pony Vinnie! Trainer graciously allowed me to ride him in my lesson on Thursday and we played dress up. Because there’s nothing like fancy boots, a figure eight bridle and fancy Eskadron boots to turn your frown upside.
Trainer split the normally very large Thursday night lesson up into two groups (huzzah!), so I just rode with J, which was really nice. I’ve been feeling like I need some more focused attention lately, and I was very grateful to get it last night. The entire lesson was all various gymnastics, focusing on position — exactly what I needed.
We started out with the longest line (two fences set at 5-6 strides), and my first few times through weren’t that great. Vinnie popped way up over the box the first time and, of course, I looked like a monkey going over and I’m pretty sure not a single inch of my body was touching my tack. Great. But as we got going, it got better. We did all of the gymnastics the rest of the time without issue (at least on Vinnie’s part), which included three jumps at two strides and three jumps at one stride.
Trainer explained two-point in a different way, which I think helped a little bit. She talked about how my joints need to move and I need to fold like an accordion. At no point during riding can my entire body be stiff — there always has to be a part that moves. I need to change thinking about two-point as a picture to thinking of it as a video.
As we went through the various gymnastics focusing on position, we also added some tighter turns each direction at the end. This was probably my shining moment. Most of our turns were great. I struggled all winter with turns and to have some really nice ones last night felt fabulous. Best of all? My pony without lead changes gave me TWO — one each direction!!
Overall, the show was an adventure. It poured rain all week, so schooling on Friday was exceptionally sloppy. Vinnie started off pretty full of himself on the flat, but I decided to ignore it and try to jump some jumps. And what do you know: Vinnie was a gentleman! This show used different jumps and standards than the other show series we normally attend and even on the flat, Vinnie wasn’t too keen on some of the fun wing standards. Over fences, he sucked back to a few, but I got him over every single one without a refusal. Go me!
Saturday dawned dreary and muggy and the show ran very slowly. In my ring, the schedule had hunters/equitation in the morning with jumpers in the afternoon. Normally I only show hunters — I’ve never shown equitation over fences at a real hunter/jumper show — but this show split the divisions differently, so if I wanted to show at all on Saturday, Equitation was my only choice. So I put on my big girl pants, and signed up. I told myself it would just be for fun and experience, so no worries about placings or anything of the sort.
My warm-up was wasn’t great — I chipped in a lot, and went too slowly. But I was able to learn from that round and make changes for the first over fences trip and did great! Obviously its not perfect, but for me, it was pretty darn good. Here’s the video evidence:
We ended up placing 6th out of 16 for our effort! To say that I was over-the-moon excited would be an understatement. I am so proud of myself for going out and doing it and for doing it well. My riding is definitely improving at every show and I am thinking so much more while I’m on course.
I’m not going to talk much about my second trip. We had a refusal due to rider error, but it’s all things I know I need to work on — and I am making improvements in those areas. So even though I probably should be upset about it, I’m not. I’m going to make mistakes, but overall I am riding better than I did last year and even at the first show this year.
Here is where the show went all downhill. I showed in the 4th division of the day… and I showed at 4 pm. Jumpers (all of them) ended up getting rained out. They decided to run them Sunday morning, before the regular hunter schedule in my ring.
Sunday I woke up and didn’t feel great. I meandered to the show, and Jumpers took forever. I got to watch my friends, which was a ton of fun, but I felt a migraine coming on. That, combined with the muddy ring, and I opted to scratch my hunter division. I was disappointed I didn’t show, but I wouldn’t have given Vinnie a good ride, and I really wanted to end on a good note.
This past weekend was another show at our barn. I really enjoyed the last one, but I’ve been showing so much I really needed a weekend to catch up on everything else… like having food in the fridge. So I came to the barn for my Thursday night lesson, turned out there were six of us in total, and we got to school the show course since it was already set up.
This week is a short work-week, with the holiday (yippee!) and I have a horse show this weekend. I hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth of July!
Last week was pretty hectic, and by the time Friday arrived, I had adopted the following attitude: Just Fuck It. I had to work a full day on Friday (no half-day for me), so I didn’t arrive at the showgrounds to school until just after 6 pm.
I unloaded, set-up Vinnie’s fan and decided just to hop on and find out what I had to work with. Lo and behold, Vinnie was lazy. And the clouds parted and a chorus of angels sang hallelujah! Okay, maybe that part was just in my head, but I was so happy! We went into the ring, jumped every jump all in a row and were done. Schooling took all of 15 minutes from start to finish and I was beyond thrilled!
Saturday morning dawned hot and humid, with highs in 90’s. Sam didn’t get home from his out-of-town work trip until 1 am, so he slept in since I wasn’t slated to show until around 11 am, and this show is notorious for running behind. Then at 9:30, we got the announcement: “six trips and flat before the start of Limit Rider,” at which point I panicked, just slightly. Our plan was to show in the first rotation of my division, do the warm-up trip and if Vinnie was too strong, we would drop down in the order, get off and lunge.
So I called Sam, who was luckily already on his way. I got dressed, tacked up (all by myself! look at me, being all adult-like!) and went out to the warm-up. I trotted and cantered, then went over a little vertical twice. Vinnie was his perfect, old self: a total push ride, without a care in the world. I got dropped in the order to the second rotation due to conflicts in other rings, which turned out fine because Sam made it to the ring just as I was going in for my warm-up trip.
I didn’t manage to get any photos/video from Saturday, but man, did we kill it. I mean, we just murdered those courses. I rode really well, flowed and stretched up. It was absolutely glorious and I came out of that ring beaming! We placed 8th in one of our over fences classes, which in a division of 13 with no lead changes is pretty darn impressive, if I do say so myself.
I was much more prepared to go early this time and everything was all good. I was more tired, so I felt like I didn’t ride quite as well as I did on Saturday, but still much improved from the last show. Here was our best course:Sunday
We ended up placing 6th and 7th in our over fences classes! I was thrilled — I think we were the best team out there without a lead change, and that is fucking fantastic. We opted out of the under saddle — I was hot and tired, plus in a division that large, we just weren’t going to be competitive. I don’t need to practice the flat; the last two shows trainer has said I showed to the best of Vinnie’s ability on the flat and we didn’t place (which is fine). But I wanted to end on a great note, so I was happy with that decision.
All in all, definitely the best show this season and I am really, really happy to finally see some progress in myself, and see that reflected in the placings from show to show. Plus, I’m definitely well on my way to accomplishing my goal of riding better at each event!